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ATM: living space

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.22.17

People love to tell us that we'll need more space when the kids are teenagers. (Our house is a three bedroom, a little under 2000 square feet. Right now they all share a big room, which could eventually be split into two little rooms. )

It sort of reminds me of when you're about to have your first baby - everyone tells you there are a few absolutely essential items, but the cumulative total of everyone's essential items is enough to fill a McMansion.

I get that teenagers need privacy and that lots of space is nice. I also get that most of the world's teenage population does not have much space, for better or worse.

So: what is the truth of the matter? to what extent do teenagers need more space than elementary school kids?


 

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Friday wtfuckery

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.21.17

I think I'm pretty adjusted to the fact that we have Trump as a president - I'm no longer daydreaming about hail-Mary situations where everyone laughs and admits there was a miscount, or any of his ethical violations catch up with him - and then you wake up some mornings, and BAMN you look at this hellscape as if you were dropped in from above. We put a pathological liar-reality TV show host in the presidency of the US.

Aside from personality, he's more or less creating a government just run as a standard Republican administration, which of course is completely depraved, although with a bit more fears of WWIII and nuclear warfare.

What are my biggest WTF moments from this week? Probably this tweet, Steve King gloating about having deported his first DREAMer. (Although Judge Curiel is hearing his case, which is a nice touch.)


 

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Late Adopter

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.20.17

So, I'm thinking about joining this fitness tracker trend. I just get so sedentary during the workday, especially over the summer.

Are these worth their money? Do they successfully nudge you to be more active? Is the data fun, after the novelty wears off? What's your favorite feature? Why are they all so ugly? (Right now, the Fitbit Blaze is the frontrunner for me, in large part because I find it less ugly. It ain't cheap, though.)


 

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Guest Post - Kirk Drift

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.18.17

Minivet writes: Interesting piece on how we retrospectively superimpose tropes onto Star Trek in general and the Kirk character in particular.

Heebie's take
: I never really clicked with Star Trek, but it's very plausible to me that we retroactively would do this to a larger-than-life character.


 

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ATM: Traffic-calming for apartments and venues?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.18.17

An anonymous one of us writes: A common theme in urban planning is that traffic-calming measures are more effective than stop lights and stop signs for getting drivers to behave themselves around pedestrians. That stop lights and signs spur drivers to try to make up lost time, and drive more recklessly, whereas things like narrower streets, on-street parking (especially angled parking, apparently), pedestrian refugee bumps in the middle of intersections, big trees on the sides all calm driving. Basically anything that makes it seem like you're doing detail work behind the wheel instead of big zoom-zoom on nice wide streets.

This is not that different than these psychological behavior tricks in other settings: have people opt-out of organ donation instead of opt-in, have doctors follow checklists, get rid of trays in the cafeteria so that people put less food on their plate, put the salad and veggies first in the buffet line of the cafeteria, etc. etc.

My question is: Suppose, hypothetically, you lived in this town, and there was a major issue with apartment complexes being built in established neighborhoods where these complexes cued their residents that this was a mega-party spring breakville complex. "Swim up bars" is the description that I'm told, although I don't think that means a bartender. Parties that bring several thousand college students to the apartment complex, for example.

What should the "traffic-calming measures" be for apartment complexes located in quiet neighborhoods? Both so that individuals who want to party know to select for complexes in party areas, and those who are in the normal range of partying are encouraged towards calmer behavior? The thoughts I have are:
- playgrounds
- community gardens
But there must be more.

And then a companion question for restaurants, bars and coffee shops: people are so concerned about party-scene bars (ie Dollar Jello Shot night!) and night clubs that they shut down suggestions of restaurants and coffee shops as being stealth Dollar Jello Shot bars - the fear is that if these venues get permitted, the owner will pull a bait and switch and turn it into a party-scene bar because those are the most profitable.

There's a very real risk that the baby is getting thrown out with the bathwater - communities need gathering places like restaurants, coffee shops and (quiet) bars, and it's an asset to have these scattered through out the community, around neighborhoods. What are "traffic-calming measures" for these sorts of establishments that would encourage uses compatible with a quiet neighborhood? My thoughts:
- restricted alcohol sales hours
- restricted hours of being open?
but neither of those seem quite right. A coffee shop should be able to sell alcohol and stay open all night long. What features are non-coercive but tip the behavior of patrons?

One big difference between a developer and a restaurant owner is that the former cares a lot less about what their clientele is like, as long as they can sell the property once its built. So the guidelines for apartment complexes is that you have an indifferent owner, and the guidelines are roughly responsible for nudging the behavior.

With a venue, the owner cares a lot about the mood and the clientele, and so a non-cooperative owner can follow the letter of the calming-measures while sabotaging them in other ways, and a cooperative owner can create a calm, docile venue which may superficially violate some sensible guidelines. City planners deal with this problem by writing form-based codes and SmartCodes that describe intent and spirit of the area. But it would still be nice to have some concrete guidelines, at least to help me think more clearly about this.

Heebie's take: Clearly a fascinating topic! I think we should all contribute very useful, extensively detailed ideas!


 

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Not Enough

Posted by Ogged
on 04.17.17

I don't know how long it's been around, but I've just started noticing "just a kiss of" meaning "a tiny bit" everywhere in ad copy. It's actually a nice metaphor for something that's in or infused in another, but just through a quick mwah. However, as a demanding consumer, having thought through the metaphor, I now have to insist on more. I want cola totally nailed with cherry flavor, and black tea drilled with bergamot's lavender essence.


 

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DQ Meet-up!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.17.17

Dairy Queen writes: We will be in Amsterdam Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, then Vienna Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Could you put up a post for me please? Many thanks in advance.

Heebie's take: done!

In longer range planning, I'll be in San Francisco and New York this summer. Anyone interested in a SF meet-up on Wednesday July 5th, and/or New York on Monday, July 17th?


 

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Achievers

Posted by Ogged
on 04.16.17

I'm not sure how I wound up reading this profile of Sheryl Sandberg, and boy did it make me feel like an asshole, because it doesn't get much worse than suddenly losing your spouse at a young age, and my main thought while reading it was, Jesus, do these people ever quit with the growth mindset? We heard all about having a "growth mindset" during bootcamp, and sure, it makes a lot of sense as a strategy to excel in our economy, but it's also propaganda for a system that forces you to hustle your entire working life. So it was very gratifying--and about a million times more likely to happen in a British publication than an American one--to have the author (who suddenly lost a spouse herself) call bullshit.

I leave in awe of Sandberg's resolve to find a positive story to tell out of tragedy. But I also leave feeling unsettled by how carefully curated the whole encounter seemed. It takes days to place the feeling, and when I do it is perfectly obvious. It's exactly the feeling I get when I look at profiles on Facebook. Perhaps that's no surprise: Sandberg is a natural leader and problem solver - not merely Facebook's COO but its living embodiment - who has dealt with her grief almost as if it were a failing business to be turned around; she studied the data, applied herself to its findings, and found the potential for growth.

That said, Sandberg is dealing with real shit, and doing it with aplomb, and the piece is worth reading on its own.


 

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